Freelancers are being invited to sign up to, and give feedback on, a nine-page Freelance Charter that aims to commit the TV industry to fair and consistent working conditions.
The charter, launched today by the pan-industry Coalition for Change, declares the development of freelancers as "in the best interests of the industry" in terms of progression, mental wellbeing and productivity and recommends mandatory recruitment training, particularly for unconscious basis and interview techniques.
The framework aims to stamp out bullying and harassment, improve the mental health and diversity of production teams, make recruitment fairer by ending cronyism and unconscious bias, encourage regular training at all levels of the industry and establish clearer skills development and career paths.
Its key points include:
- "breaking the cycle" of rehiring and cut back on broadcasters imposing people on a production
- productions must have a designated safeguarding officer for bullying and harassment
- improve recruitment by establising a realistic gap between greenlight and production
- avoid "unrealistic production schedules" so that long hours are not normalised
- proper advertising of vacancies
- talking to freelancers post-delivery about career progression
- recognising flexible working practices
It has been steered over the past year by freelancer and TV Mindset founder Adeel Amini, who announced the formation of the Coalition at last year’s Edinburgh TV Festival.
Sky UK and Ireland MD of content Zai Bennett and UKTV director of commissioning Richard Watsham have worked with Amini to draw up the charter after discussons with around 100 groups and individuals.
Speaking in an Edinburgh TV Festival session, Watsham stressed that the charter is “not a legal document, not a panacea - it’s a platform on which to build”, stressing that it relies on collective responsibility to end the “wild west” feeling of being a freelancer.
Absent from the list are ITV, Netflix and Pact, all of which have fed into the charter and are expected to make a formal commitment in the coming weeks.
The Coalition is now developing a kitemark for all signatories to use and promote.
Broadcast will compile freelancer views of the charter’s aims in an annual survey to be launched this autumn, with its findings fed back to the Coalition to consider ahead of the publication of a revised version of the charter in January.
The Coalition will then publish an update next August, with annual reworkings expected from 2023.
Sign up to the charter here